Alice Bailey and the Plan

by Isobel Blackthorn

In my previous articles https://isobelblackthorn.com/alice-bailey-articles/ I’ve explored some of the roots of the Alice Bailey conspiracy theory and attempted to show how the theory is unjustified by providing a taste of the meaning and intention behind the theosophist’s thinking. Here I focus on a term that triggers alarm in the conspiracy mind, the notion of a ‘Plan’. It might be said that the entire conspiracy edifice rests on this single conceptual foundation. So contentious is this term that on the basis of it alone Bailey has been condemned to burn on the pyre of her own pages.

Out of the numerous definitions of the Plan, the most apposite can be found in Discipleship in the New Age II. ‘The Plan for this cycle…is goodwill for all men, and through all men, goodwill.’ In Bailey’s scheme, and in keeping with her own Christian faith, the task of her spiritual hierarchy is to bring about goodwill on earth in accordance with divine will. Goodwill is the hierarchy’s major thoughtform, the idea dressed up and sent out into the world in the hope that it may take hold. Goodwill is a synthesising energy; simply put, it brings people together in harmony. The Plan is ‘divine synthetic purpose’ or the Will of God.  It all sounds harmless enough, but religious fundamentalists react to the idea that anyone outside of Christ and the Bible could possible know God’s purpose.

There are more abstruse ways of defining the Plan in Bailey’s texts. She states that ‘The Plan is substance. It is essentially substantial energy. And energy is substance and nothing else.’ In such statements Bailey leaves the average reader behind, the words only meaning something for those in the know. The only way to understand esoteric thought is to stand inside it, and few are so predisposed.

In, False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion, key Bailey detractor Lee Penn views the Plan as spiritual totalitarianism. Whereas Bailey had in her sights the dawning of a new global consciousness, one fundamentally humanitarian in nature and not at all despotic, which totalitarianism implies.

Of concern for Penn is Alice Bailey’s so-called disciples of Shamballa. The legend of Shamballa comes from classical Hinduism and was introduced into Western esotericism by Blavatsky. She describes it as The White Island located in Central Asia. Bailey expanded on the notion, claiming it to be the central home of her Hierarchy of Spiritual Masters, at ‘a centre in the Gobi desert…It exists in etheric matter.’ She doesn’t explain a great deal about this mythical kingdom based in Mongolia, since her primary concern is the Spiritual Hierarchy. In simple terms, Shamballa is defined as the will-to-power:

‘Shamballa’ refers to ‘the world of pure energy, of light and of directed force’

‘Shamballa is simply a word conveying the idea of a vast focal point of energies.’ 

Or ‘Shamballa is the place of purpose…[it is] a major centre of related sates and a relatively static energy.’ 

Alice A. Bailey, Discipleship in the New Age, Vol II, 293, 404 and 519.

Without making any effort to understand this concept, Penn cites Bailey’s esoteric claim that despotic leaders from Napoleon and Bismark to Hitler and Mussolini were ‘disciples of Shamballa’ and were ‘great outstanding personalities who were peculiarly sensitive to the will-to-power.’ The detached tone of these statements appears callous. On first reading it is as though Bailey condones the cruelties these men meted out. On closer scrutiny, ‘great’ and ‘outstanding’ do not mean Alice Bailey thought they were in any way ‘good’. Rather, that they stood out. She also notes Hitler was an ‘exponent of the reversed reaction to Shamballa (and consequently the evil reaction), The Rays and the Initiations, 35.

However, she does put a positive spin, from an esoteric perspective, on aspects of destruction. Outmoded forms that can no longer cope with or are suitable to incoming spiritual energies inevitably die. As a lizard grows, it sheds its old skin. Human civilisations rise and they fall. From an exoteric perspective, the detached way Bailey talks about death might be a justifiable criticism of her work. Yet her contentious statements, such as those cited by Penn, extracted and amplified as though representative of the whole eleven thousand pages of text, are rare. Should the whole corpus be thrown out as a result, or should she be regarded as at times opinionated, outspoken and perhaps prone to an over-application of her own esoteric worldview?

In much of her body of work, Bailey applies her own esoteric logic to world affairs, and her teachings should be interpreted through the lens of her basic concern for the evolution of consciousness. Bailey not only argues that all of the world’s dictators were embodying the energy of Shamballa, which manifests most potently as the destruction of outmoded forms of thought, she also acknowledges this as ‘dangerous and terrible’. (The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, 133.) Although from the point of view of a collective unfolding awareness, she argues that such destruction serves a purpose in furthering the overall Plan (global goodwill), by breaking down existing boundaries that separate communities and nations. For some, this assertion jars and anyone who has read Voltaire’s Candide might note tinges of the ‘All’s for the best in the best of all possible world’s’ response to the terrible earthquake that struck Lisbon in 1755 offered by prominent philosopher and optimist Leibniz. Is it ever desirable to frame the suffering that comes with destruction in a positive light?

Alice Bailey had a very particular way of seeing the world. For her, what matters is the evolution of consciousness. In this regard, she saw the emergence of the ideologies of democracy, totalitarianism and communism as evidence of an early form of group consciousness and world awareness:

‘It is therefore surely apparent that behind all the surface turmoil and chaos so devastatingly present today in the consciousness of humanity, and behind all the fear and apprehension, the hate and separativeness, human beings are beginning to blend in themselves three states of consciousness—that of the individual, of the citizen, and of the idealist.’ 

Education in the New Age, 103.

Bailey’s statements should be considered on their own terms and understood within her overarching belief system. The Plan is the expansion of human consciousness to embrace group consciousness and is brought about through the expression of goodwill. Shamballa is concerned with the expression of spiritual will and is not the primary focus in the Bailey teachings. Both the Plan and Shamballa represent aspects of the theosophical worldview. This worldview has its roots in Neoplatonic metaphysics. It is not possible to extract either concept from this worldview and try to reach an understanding independently of this context.

Isobel Blackthorn, PhD, is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey, and the biography Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy.

ALICE BAILEY AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER

by Isobel Blackthorn

From Goodwill to Conspiracy Theory

Alice Bailey devoted thirty years to the fulfilment of her mission to be the conduit for the latest outpouring of the Ageless Wisdom and establish a number of organizations that would help carry that mission of goodwill forward. Back in the 1920s to the late 1940s she couldn’t have known there was a nemesis growing right beside her, one that would culminate in the form of a grand conspiracy theory with her name on it. 

Paul Hanaoka, Unsplash

Perhaps the seeds of the conspiracy theory were sown that day in May 1922 when she established the Lucifer Publishing Company, wisely changing the name to the Lucis Publishing Company in 1924, after she became concerned about public perception of the word “Lucifer”, especially amongst orthodox Christians. Alice Bailey was wise to make the change, but it came too late to avert the outrage of evangelical Christians who, in the 1980s, used the original name of the publishing company as a basis to their argument that Alice Bailey was possessed by the antichrist.

One leading critic writing in the 1980s is Christian activist Constance Cumbey (1944-). In The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow: The New Age Movement and the Coming Age of Barbarism, Cumbey is at pains to construe Bailey as a vulnerable victim of circumstances, confused, lonely and in despair at the time she encountered Theosophy, and not as the strong-minded intellectual that she was. However, Cumbey still sees Bailey as possessed by the Antichrist. For Cumbey, Bailey’s beliefs in God immanent and reincarnation are ‘the standard lies of the serpent of the Garden of Eden days!’ “Lucifer” might mean light bearer, but to Cumbey the word denotes pure evil.

photo by Pawel Janiak, Unsplash

Everything that Bailey wrote is seen by Cumbey through the lens of Lucifer. The ‘Plan’ of the ‘Spiritual Masters’ is for Cumbey not only unorthodox, but intended ‘to utterly root out people who believe in the Bible and worship God and to completely stamp out Christianity.’ Even the ‘holding the mind steady in the light’ is seen as an act of pure evil.

Unfortunately, Cumbey’s inflammatory scaremongering, while off-putting to non-evangelists, has fed the fears of a receptive audience of believers. Cumbey’s work has been widely discredited by scholars due to its conspiracy theory tone, yet her book and her ideas continue to circulate, aided by Cumbey herself, who has a strong online presence.

The views of Cumbey have become foundational and fuel the fearful hatred of evangelicals and conspiracy theorists far and wide. There are scores and possibly hundreds of websites and blogs dedicated to attacking Alice Bailey, propped up by Cumbey’s book.

Cumbey’s citing of “Lucifer” was picked up in 2001 by leading conspiracy thinker, Jim Marrs in his book Rule by Secrecy, a comprehensive exploration of ‘conspiracy truth’, involving the discovery and interpretation of the various guises of the New World Order plot. Marrs makes only this one reference to Alice Bailey, using it as evidence to support his claim that the core motive of esotericists down the ages is to convert believers to Satanism. If Bailey could have known how far reaching the consequences of this single word choice would be, she would have been kicking herself.

Some of Cumbey’s accusations draw on skewed interpretations of Bailey’s central concepts. Conspiracy thinkers have taken these interpretations and embellished them, creating a veil of disinformation around a body of work intended to foster spiritual enlightenment.

That Bailey’s work has attracted the attention of such thinking is unsurprising. There is much in her work to arouse the suspicions of conspiracy thinkers, including: The existence of a hierarchy of masters overseeing humanity; the notion of a Plan; a call for one world government; and a belief in the value of the United Nations. With these triggers, little wonder Bailey has come under their high beam, since all of these central concepts point to the workings of hidden power. 

Perhaps it doesn’t matter that Bailey’s teachings have become shrouded in conspiracy thinking since those who may benefit from her insights will probably find a point of entry, and despite being regarded as the mother of the New Age movement, the bulk of humanity has never heard of her.

Generally, conspiracy thinkers are concerned with threats to national sovereignty and a desire to re-attain a sense of national and personal identity and power in a rapidly globalising world. It is easy to see how Bailey would be regarding by conspiracy thinkers as an arch enemy, since she advocated a form of one-world government.

The moment Bailey latched onto the United Nations, history was against her. Her hope was that through its auspices, the world would re-orient itself on a better course, and that her works would achieve their intention, to found a new world order.  Ironically, conspiracy theorists believe wholeheartedly that she was successful.

Image by Okan Caliskan from Pixabay 

In her book Cumbey devotes a series of appendices to Bailey’s organisations and ideas, including: World Goodwill, Triangles, the Lucis Trust, the New Group of World Servers and the Unity-in-Diversity Council, an organisation based on an ancient phrase Bailey utilised to convey an important holistic idea. Unity does not confer uniformity and diversity is not fragmentation. In Cumbey’s view, New Age conspirators are enacting the plan for a quasi-Nazi new world order set down by Bailey, largely by infiltrating the United Nations, along with government and business groups. For Cumbey, its adherents are deluded, naïve, and held by mass hypnosis and mind control.

Cumbey quotes from nine volumes of the Bailey canon, with an emphasis on The Externalisation of the Hierarchy:

‘These teachings omitted little or nothing. They ranged from the attitude of the Hierarchy towards the Jews (negative) through dietary advice. Step by step they plotted the coming “New Age”, with instructions for the institution of the necessary New World Order through the use of identifying rainbows. Plans for religious war, forced initiations, theology for the New World Religion, disarmament campaign, and elimination or sealing away of obstinate religious orthodoxies—all were covered extensively in the Alice Bailey writings.’

Constance Cumbey, The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow, p51.

In Cumbey’s language, Bailey adherents have followed her teachings ‘to the letter,’ the New Age utopia of Findhorn was meant to ‘anchor The Plan,’ and many followers have ‘infiltrated’ the United Nations. Having pre-determined that everything the New Age and its theosophical underpinnings stand for is coming out of that evil space, Cumbey has no choice but to condemn notions of world peace and unity, sharing and brotherly love.

Anti-Bailey conspiracy theorists tend to equate Bailey’s version of a new world order with globalisation as we know it today. In the following quote, Bailey makes an important distinction between materialism and spirituality as two pathways towards a new global world order.

‘Arguing as one ever must from the universal to the particular, it is essential that humanity relates its own mechanism to the greater mechanism through which the planetary Life functions and views his soul as an infinitesimal part of the world soul. It is necessary for him, therefore, to relate…his soul to his personality, viewing both as aspects and integral parts of the human family. This will be increasingly the case. This process is beginning to demonstrate in the steadily expanding group, national and racial consciousness which humanity is today demonstrating – a consciousness which shows as a spiritual inclusiveness or as an abnormal and wicked attempt (from the standpoint of the soul) to fuse and blend all nations into a world order, based on material issues and dominated by a material vision.’

Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology p. 519.

It should be clear from the quote that Alice Bailey desired the antithesis of the very path Cumbey accuses her of advocating. Constance Cumbey is just one of Alice Bailey’s detractors. That her view has been amplified in the conspiracy theory milieu is unsurprising, yet there are few voices countering the perspective.

Read more here https://isobelblackthorn.com/2021/01/27/new-world-order-and-alice-bailey-whats-the-evidence/

Isobel Blackthorn, PhD, is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey and the biography Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy.

Alice Bailey, World Goodwill and the United Nations

Alice Bailey

I am delighted to share my piece on Alice Bailey, World Goodwill and the United Nations, featured in the March issue of Live Encounters Magazine.

Alice Bailey, World Goodwill and the United Nations

“Esotericism is concerned with explanations and manipulations of the inner planes of existence. Alice Bailey’s writings belong to the variant of Western Esotericism known as Theosophy. While the term can be traced back to Neoplatonist Porphyry to describe a combination of the capacities of the philosopher, the artist and the priest, it was Russian aristocrat and Spiritualist Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky who harnessed theosophy when she founded the Theosophical Society in 1875. British aristocrat and former devout Christian, Alice A. Bailey (born in 1880 Alice La Trobe-Bateman) was a second-generation Theosophist in communication with the same Master of the Wisdom as Blavatsky: The Tibetan or Djwhal Khul.

Drawing on Eastern mysticism and Western occult formulations, Bailey wrote twenty-four volumes, most as The Tibetan’s amanuensis, dedicated to informing future generations of seekers of the coming new age of spiritual enlightenment. Written between 1919 and 1949, Bailey’s opus includes works on meditation, esoteric healing, astrology, initiation, the chakras, yoga, education and psychology, along with an abstruse treatise on cosmology, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire. She also provides detailed explanations of the Plan of the Spiritual Hierarchy of Masters for the forthcoming era and instructions to her disciples to make that plan a reality. Much of the writing is impenetrable and alien to non-esotericists. The tone is instructional and dry. There is nothing exotic and enticing in the style and yet many will mention a strange almost magnetic pull once the mind starts to grapple with the meaning held within.

Of all the spiritual and occult teachers of her day, Alice Bailey was one of the most prolific and determined. Her legacy, whilst hidden, runs deep. She is regarded in scholarly circles to be the main theorist of the New Age movement, her teachings informing an early vanguard of writers and practitioners who went on to influence future generations of seekers. Many leading New Age proponents champion or acknowledge her influence. She is also a pet hate among conspiracy theorists, mostly due to her belief in the need for a ‘new world order’ based on ‘a plan’ devised by spiritual masters.

Alice Bailey’s main goal was to purify esotericism and make esoteric practice serve good not evil purposes. She imbued Theosophy with the basic Christian principle of goodwill and believed in the Second Coming of Christ. She exercised her formidable missionary zeal to establish all the foundations necessary to fulfil her vision for a better world…”  To continue reading the article:

Live Encounters Magazine March 2019 – https://liveencounters.net/2019/02/28/live-encounters-magazine-march-2019/

To download PDF click on this link – https://liveencounters.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Live-Encounters-Magazine-February-2019.pdf

To read the digital mag on your phone click on this link – https://issuu.com/liveencounters/docs/live_encounters_magazine_february_2_4eeba753253cf2?e=0

Alice A. Bailey

To read more about Alice Bailey in my biographical novel, click this link.

Book review: Return to Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven

There is fiction that is entirely make believe. Then there is fiction that has its basis in fact and the historical record. Return to Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven, in the tradition of political thrillers, is situated firmly in the latter group.

Return to Hiroshima

About Return to Hiroshima

Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to Hiroshima, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister.
Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima’s war history.
A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane.
And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will “overturn Japan’s foundations”….
Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel.
Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII are unveiled and leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and Japanese society.

My thoughts

I have a healthy appetite for noir fiction and found Return to Hiroshima a sumptuous and wonderfully grotesque feast. Centred in Hiroshima and written for a Western audience, Van Laerhoven paints a vivid and dark portrait of Japan, its culture and society, and an equally vivid and dark portrait, both immediate and fifty years on, of the aftermath of Little Boy – the atomic bomb that fell on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945.

Through the eyes of a diverse cast of characters, the reader enters a deep-state reality, shadowy, deceptive, peppered with lies and brutality. The author slowly reveals in short sharp chapters, the twisted and corrupt interplays at work behind the scenes as Japan endures a cataclysmic economic crisis. The novel is set partly amid the abandoned high rises built atop the coal mines of Hashima Island near Nagasaki, where Mitsuko wrestles with the reality she is forced to endure, dominated by her monstrous father and mafia-boss, so-called Rokurobei. She escapes to Hiroshima and forms a friendship with Yori, whose drug-crazed and maniacal boyfriend, Reizo, is at work on his novel in a squat in a disused warehouse.

Soon, the reader meets German photographer Beate Becht, Belgian graduate Xavier Douterloigne and maverick police inspector, Takeda. Each shines a spotlight on Hiroshima, and each is of course instrumental to the plot. What unfolds is on one level a straight ahead race to save Mitsuko from danger and reveal hidden truths. On a deeper level, Return to Hiroshima challenges authorised versions of events and their causes and perpetrators, those versions reported by the press.

Superbly written in an easy, fluid style with characters that are complex and believable, Return to Hiroshima contains a taut and artfully constructed plot. The reader is kept on edge. At any moment the tension will release. Eventually it does, dramatically yet incrementally, intertwined with revelation upon revelation, carrying the reader through to the last page.

While there are a few confronting scenes in this novel, with various victims meeting their awful ends, the ultimate victim in Return to Hiroshima is truth, at once laid bare by the narrator and distorted by the characters. Driving the plot are themes of memory and remembering, childhood trauma and unhealed wounds. Gruesome mutations caused by the atomic bomb are set alongside those caused by secret medical experiments. In all, Return to Hiroshima is an elaborate and insightful depiction of obsession.

Younger readers may not recall the sarin attack in a Tokyo subway that took place in March 1995, and the religious cult, Aum Shinrikyo who claimed responsibility. They may not know of Unit 731 and the atrocities the Japanese meted out in WWII on their prisoners of war, atrocities ignored by the West as we focus all our attention on the Nazis. Cruelty is a global phenomenon, then as now. In addressing this, Return to Hiroshima and its author deserve to be acclaimed.  An intelligent and compelling read.

 

Find a copy of Return to Hiroshima on Amazon